THORNTON REDBACKS V NEWCASTLE OLYMPIC
THORNTON PARK – SUNDAY 3PM
Fresh off a 6-0 thumping of Adamstown, Newcastle Olympic will head to Thornton this weekend hoping to continue the form that has seen them mooted as the team to beat in 2020.
The women from Darling Street Oval currently sit atop of the Herald Women’s Premier League table, having scored three wins from four starts.
On paper, this weekend’s clash would seem nothing more than administrative, but Olympic coach Harmonie Attwill does not share that view.
“This week we will continue to build momentum for our game against Thornton,” she said.
“They will again pose a physical threat and our ability to work our way into the match will be critical.”
Stacey Day is the only Olympic player under an injury cloud ahead of the match at Thornton Park.
“We are waiting scan results for Stacey at this stage. We will know the outcome of this [on Thursday],” Attwill said.
Attwill said she had been impressed by a number of Olympic players so far this season.
“It is so difficult to choose one player. We have so much depth and strength across the park,” she said.
“Jemma House has performed with two hat-tricks since the recommencement of the season.
“On the other hand, our midfield consisting of Laura Hall, Imogen Tusek and Keely Gawthrop continually works hard to deliver quality in attack and defence.
“Defensively we haven’t conceded since the second match against Merewether which highlights the strength of our backline.”
Sunday afternoon’s clash presents a difficult task for a Thornton side yet to find its best form.
“We’re not that far off… the girls have given their all both weekends but the combinations are just off knowing where to be to best help each other,” coach Alan Primmer said.
Injuries and unavailable players will make for a tough weekend for the Redbacks. Celeste Edward, Bella Wetzel-Morrison and Chelsea Gay are all under some level of doubt but will be given every chance to prove fit for Sunday afternoon’s clash.
“Hopefully the girls are excited for it. Two of our better games last year was against the premiers New Lambton,” Primmer said.
NEW LAMBTON EAGLES V WARNERS BAY PANTHERS
ARTHUR EDDEN OVAL – SATURDAY 3PM
Elodie Dagg is expected to return for Warners Bay this Saturday as the Panthers round out a tough seven days with a road trip to Arthur Edden Oval to take on last season’s premiers New Lambton.
The Panthers had a narrow loss to Broadmeadow on Wednesday evening, going down 2-1 thanks to a late Magic goal. New signing Jen Hoy scored for Warners Bay.
“We just probably didn’t play smart enough. I thought we could have done a few things differently,” Warners Bay coach Craig Atkins said.
“We went away from our structure. We stopped playing out from the back and we need to address that.”
Saturday’s game will likely be the first time Jen Hoy and Elodie Dagg combine in the final third for the Panthers, a proposition Atkins is looking forward to.
“With Jen coming in she’ll only get better and lift the girls around her… she played a full game tonight [Wednesday]. She’s trained the house down but she’s not match fit yet,” Atkins said.
“The girls now have a couple of days off. They need a break, it has been hectic.”
New Lambton will be without Toria Campbell for an extended period after she was injured at the weekend, while goalkeeper Ruby Jones is likely to miss Saturday’s game.
“[A] few battered and bruised bodies in the camp, so it’s just a matter of writing those wrongs this week and putting out a performance that we know we are capable off,” New Lambton coach Brad Jones said.
As to who Jones believes will fill the leadership role left vacant by Campbell, the first-grade coach has no shortage of quality options.
“I think in terms of on-field presence, her and Lisa were sharing that responsibility. That’s now going to fall wholly on Lisa’s back in terms of the on-field communication,” Jones said.
“I think from the back, Kaitlin Radstaak, she’s just a cool, experienced head who the girls really respond to.
“We need to be able to execute our game plan… I just think if we can contain that attacking threat [Elodie Dagg and Jen Hoy] and we can play to our potential I think we’re in good shape to take the three [points].”
ADAMSTOWN ROSEBUD V BROADMEADOW MAGIC
ADAMSTOWN OVAL – SUNDAY 3PM
Adamstown will need to be close to their best when they take on Broadmeadow Magic on Sunday.
The Rosebuds were left battered and bruised by a dominant Newcastle Olympic side last weekend, while Magic will be buoyed by a late win over Warners Bay on Wednesday night.
“Thursday and Friday, we will ramp it up moving towards the weekend,” Adamstown coach Ryan Campbell said.
“[The] girls are a bit sore at this stage. Tuesday night we had a very light session.”
According to Campbell, this week’s focus has been around defence with goal difference likely to prove critical at the end of the regular season. Adamstown have so far conceded eight goals in four games, including last week’s 6-0 thumping at the hands of Olympic.
“This week we will be focusing on ourselves and ensuring that we get back to our best, especially defensively,” Campbell said.
Rosebud keeper Olivia Sneddon remains in significant doubt for the clash after she was injured in a nasty collision at the weekend.
“Olivia is still in a lot of pain and waiting on further information,” Campbell said.
“All other players are fit and available for this weekend at this stage, which is great and gives me lots of options to choose from in order to put on our best performance.”
Broadmeadow Magic are fifth on the table with six points but still have a game in hand against Thornton. That game will be played in August.
The women in red looked strong against Warners Bay on Wednesday, with Lucy Jerram again a standout. Maggie Quinn, Kobie Ferguson and Chelsea Lucas were all solid in their performances.
A win on Saturday would see Magic move into the top four. Pending other results, Adamstown could slip as far down the ladder as fifth.
MID COAST V MEREWETHER UNITED
WAYNE RICHARDS PARK, PORT MACQUARIE – SUNDAY 3PM
Mid Coast will be looking to make it three in a row when they take on Merewether at Port Macquarie on Sunday.
The home side are fifth on the table, with a goal difference of minus three, six goals better positioned then when the competition was suspended in mid-March.
“I think we’ve got pretty good comradery… everyone’s pretty happy and keen to keep going forward and see what we can achieve,” Mid Coast coach Mick Grass said.
The trip north is never an easy one for visiting sides, with Merewether set to field an understrength side due to player unavailability.
United coach Scott Ellis was tight lipped on the final makeup of his side but did admit there would be some fresh faces in the match day squad.
“I still think we can get the job done but the trip up there is never particularly easy… we’ve got enough players to fill the gap,” Ellis said.
“We had a really good session on Tuesday night … really just focusing on getting ourselves working on our own performance and game plan and getting everyone onboard with that.”
The focus for Ellis was as much about Sunday’s clash as it is the next few weeks.
“The games coming up, hopefully will help us settle some things in place, settle our patterns of play down, give everyone some confidence in the overall game plan,” Ellis said.
“The game plan I sort of had in mind…. I watched a lot of football over the weekend, that really helped me crystallise my thoughts and reinforce what I want to do with the team.
“I think we’re probably three or four weeks away from getting to where I’d like us to be.”
Grass will not be reading much into the final makeup of his opponents.
“It’s just another game for us. I think what we’ll find for Merewether is they’ll have key players who can turn the game individually… if you want to focus on them you could be leaving yourself open in other areas, so we’ll just be focusing on ourselves,” Grass said.
Courtney Anderson is expected to be fit for the clash against her former club, despite an ankle injury. Anderson, alongside Jess James has been critical to the resurgence of Mid Coast in recent weeks.
“We’re playing a full field game… we don’t place ourselves around one player, or a couple of players,” Grass said.
Wet weather is forecast for the weekend, with a lingering east coast low likely to make for a heavy track at Port Macquarie’s Wayne Richards Park.
“We’ll see what happens, fingered crossed we get a game in,” Grass said.